Coalition Wants Clean Water, Air, and Jobs in N.Y.

A coalition spanning business, economic development, labor, and environmental groups called on New York to place a $5 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act on the November 2009 ballot.

New York State Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney convened a hearing in Albany to consider the merits of draft legislation that would place the measure on the ballot.

Members of the coalition and the public testified recently in support of the measure that will invest in long-term improvements to wastewater infrastructure, energy efficiency, transit, public health protection, and economic development projects; it will also vastly expand opportunities for “green-collar” jobs and accelerate the pace of infrastructure projects to protect our water and air, according to the coalition.

The bond act will provide funding for long-term improvements to wastewater infrastructure, energy efficiency, transit, public health protection, and economic development projects.

Bond act supporters noted the multiplier effect of investing in bonding funds: a recent study shows that a $1 billion investment in water and wastewater infrastructure creates $3 billion in economic activity and supports up to 26,000 new jobs with an average salary of $50,000. Each $1 billion invested generates $82.4 million in state and local tax revenue. The Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Bond Act should generate over 100,000 jobs with parallel benefits to state and local economies.

“Even a conservative view of this bond act suggests that it would create over 100,000 new jobs for New Yorkers. These would be good-paying jobs in management, construction and innovative industries,” said Jim Melius, administrator, NYS Laborers Tri Funds. “These new jobs would put New York firmly on the track to becoming a leader in green technology at the cost of less than $4.00 a month per household.”

“We support the 2009 Clean Water, Clean Air & Green Jobs Bond Act because it will allow New York State transit providers the capital to improve transit service and air quality by putting more hybrid and other low emission buses on our roads,” said Ray Melleady, president of the New York Public Transit Association. “Investing in transit will not only improve our environment, but it will drive our economic recovery.”

“The last Clean Water and Clean Air Bond Act, which passed in 1996, has been spent down yet the challenges of climate change continue to grow,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “The Clean Water, Clean Air & Green Jobs Bond Act of 2009 will help meet those challenges.”

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